There must have been a hundred voices in the combined choirs. There was a handbell choir. There was an eloquent opening prayer by Warren Jones. A kids choir. A wonderful soloist for "O Holy Night". There was beautiful narration of the Christmas story by Jacqui Rose-Tucker. There were opportunities for the thousand or so inspired listeners to contribute voice to six carols interspersed through the evening. There was rousing brass, stirring woodwinds, dramatic percussion. There were varied and interesting arrangements:
• a magnificent overture that set the stage perfectly.
• a performance of the lovely "Do You Hear What I hear?" that reached out and shook you with the question, demanding a thoughtful answer
• a very Middle Eastern "We Three Kings" that evoked minarets and camels and maybe a belly-dancer here and there arranged by...
... our own Sam Baltzer. One expected to see the three Kings swaying into the Forum in gaudy silks high atop their camels following that Star.
• and some of us added our own Halelujahs to Handel's famous Chorus at the end.
There may be another town our size somewhere that enjoys as much great free music, but surely none better. Sam Baltzer is a Rome treasure.
If the Christmas season ended tonight, I'd rank it pretty high just for tonight!